Tokyo Journey

http://www.michaelcraig.copernicusfilms.com http://www.japanphilosophicallandscapes.com

A short film about Tokyo and its unseen character. I don’t really know how to explain but if you spend a long time in Tokyo you start to feel the hidden world which lies beneath the electric and neon fa├žade. Traces of a dream world or forgotten world which belies the ultra modern appearance of Tokyo which seems to be a continuance of some other parallel world existing in the past but in some way eternal and forever present.

Nohdramas give a whiff of this other world and how it can creep up on you. Usually the waki, an itinerant monk, old man or traveler meets a local person whom he questions them about the the history of the area As the conversation continues it and the waki draws out the shite’s story it gradually becomes clear that the shite is the ghost of a historical figure who is still clinging to this world either through desire for revenge or anger,or a desire for love. The ghost often asks the waki to pray for them to be released so they can be reborn in the Amida Buddha’s western paradise.

The swirling neon dream world of Tokyo with its episodic visual context opposed to the spatial coordinates that we are normally used to in most cities, disrupt the senses which feast on the abundance of light which subvert structure and the visual plane. In fact such categories have no meeting in night time Tokyo. The Cityscape of Tokyo is a text-scape a kind of anti landscape. The city, a symbol which stands for something but also has its own intrinsic meaning- an hieroglyph

We live in the age of light and nowhere is light, luminosity, a feature of the urban landscape as it is in Tokyo – it flows around and through the city like a liquid radiance. The Quintessential city of light its neon landscape casts a luminous dome across the night sky turning dark night into a phosphorescent panorama. This urban phenomena of the night is reminds us of the ancients of Japan who feared the darkness and longed for the dawn, for the comfort of clear light, for the sun goddessAmaterasu to remain.

The film which is in post production will form a journey through the streets and known regions of Tokyo revealing anomalies which occur at boundaries which separate the apparent from the real and the interface between the sentient world and a hidden non sentient world

Its a phenomenon which occurs everywhere in Japanese literature.Murakami in Kafka on the Shore explains that the Tale of the Genji is filled with living spirits which could sometimes travel through space often unbeknownst to themselves.

The world of the grotesque is the darkness inside us, what could be called our subconscious which was obvious to people and gave a focus for their fears. Until the invention of electric light the world was in darkness, the physical darkness and the darkness of our souls were mixed together with no boundary between them. In their past living spirits of literature such asUeda Akinari who wrote “Tales of Darkness and Moonlight” living spirits were both a grotesque phenomenon and a natural condition of the human heart and people of that time were unable to conceive of these two things as being separate. However the darkness in the outside world has vanished but the darkness in our heart remains just as before. It remains sunken in our subconscious and as Murakami points out that estrangement can create a deep contradiction or confusion inside us

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